By Charles Okogene (Daily Independent Newspaper)
Ayeni Adekunle is the PR practitioner, journalist and businessman behind Black House Media (BHM) group, a public relations and digital communications agency based in Lagos, Nigeria, with offices in London, UK. He founded BHM Group in 2006 from humble beginnings that manage strategic communications programmes for companies with interests in entertainment, lifestyle and ICT.
While studying for a degree in microbiology from the University of Ibadan (UI), Ayeni started his career with Hip Hop World magazine, worked with Encomium Weekly, Thisday and The Punch before leaving to concentrate on the BHM Group. He founded Nigeria Entertainment Today, a niche website on November 23, 2009, five months before launching its print version in April 2010.
Since 2013, Ayeni has convened the annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference, the largest gathering of artistes and professionals in Nigerian entertainment, and in 2014, he led the BHM Group to conceptualise and build BHM App, Nigeria’s first PR mobile application.
BHM’s clients include MTV Base, Nigerian Breweries, Nickelodeon, Hennessy, Interswitch, Verve, as well as BET and Comedy Central.
In this interview with journalists, he gives a rare peek into digital marketing agency ID Africa, his latest business venture, which will see a spread of the BHM Group’s clientele and content across more nations on the African continent.
How did BHM Group begin?
BHM Group started in 2006, while I was still a reporter, from my two-bedroom flat in Akute (Lagos). My wife and I had no furniture so I bought a small chair and table, and could only afford to pay someone to assemble a computer. We started out working for musicians, actors and record labels that had smaller budgets, so it was tough but fulfilling work.
A few years later, my friend Ayo Animashaun gave me a desk in his office from where BHM operated. Eventually, we had to rent our own office space and today we have 60 employees and various consultants across the world. In 2009 we began working for corporates, and they tapped into the experience we had built with entertainers and young people.
It’s never happened in Nigeria that an organisation comes from entertainment – working for artistes and actors – to begin working for multinationals. That’s our story and we are proud of it.
You’ve recently launched ID Africa, a digital agency and subsidiary of the BHM Group? What do you hope to achieve?
With Digital Marketing, disparate uptake rates exist. Brands across regions in Africa are very late to the party, while those trying to get into the party are not in the appropriate attire; I mean they are not using the right tools to speak to, or listen to the people. Africa is a continent of up to 2000 languages from numerous tribes, with over 1 billion people becoming increasingly globalised, yet retaining the peculiarities that categorize their individual heritages – the status quo is changing. We all know that the latest arrivals to a party can still make the atmosphere electric, so this is an opportunity for practitioners.
We are fortunate to have an extensive understanding, based on our PR background, about people who consume and publish content on the Internet. We know what they are looking for, so we have an understanding of how to use that social space better to create the kind of conversations that can help people meet each other and have a nice time, whether it’s a brand meeting the consumer or just consumers interacting, or even brands needing to engage with each other.
Read full interview on dailyindependentnig.com